Thursday, September 26, 2013

I initially felt reluctant to learn Japanese from a non-Japanese teacher

Said Fernando Katsuji Noda, 48, a second-generation Japanese-Brazilian banker - who was not taught Japanese by his parents - when asked about it by Motonobu Endo for his story on "Non-native teachers of Japanese growing among Brazil's immigrants" published in The Japan Times of September 26, 2013. 

Groups of Japanese immigrants began arriving in Brazil in 1908. More than a century on, the country has a population of around 1.5 million Japanese-Brazilians — the largest Japanese community overseas. While the first generation of immigrants is graying rapidly, the number of Japanese-Brazilians able to speak Japanese is declining equally fast. According to Masayuki Fukasawa, editor-in-chief of the Japanese-language Journal Nikkey Shimbun, only a few thousand Japanese-Brazilians possess the reading and writing skills required by Japanese companies for employment. Many early immigrants from Japan who became Japanese-language teachers have retired. However, an increasing number of Brazilians with no ancestral ties to Japan are studying Japanese and have become very fluent in the language and are now teaching it. Their number has continued to swell. Motonobo Endo concludes that the distance between Japan and Brazil’s Japanese community is undeniably widening.

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